Among the thousands of athletes around the world whose lives have been altered by Covid-19, Diamond Bar High School’s class of 2020 collegiate athletes are being limited to practicing in nearby open fields and community facilities.
The process has forced athletes to display self-discipline if they are going to maintain their skill and fitness levels.
“Practice during quarantine is very hard for me because there’s nobody that can be there [due to distancing] that can be of authority to push me,” Samantha Ruelas said via Instagram. “I’ve had to learn very quickly to be very self motivated.”
Recruited by UC Davis’ soccer team, Ruelas is attending classes on campus and practicing with her roommates at available fields nearby until further updates about team practices. Nevertheless, Ruelas continues to view the situation in a positive light.
“There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to these [uncertainties],” Ruelas said via Instagram. “At the end of the day, I am the only one that can either make myself better or tear myself down, so I think that it’s a very important part of growth as a person.”
Meanwhile, Marissa Vasquez has already begun to train with her soccer teammates at the University of San Francisco.
“It’s been harder training with masks to breathe but just being able to train in our small groups has been a blessing,” Vasquez said via Instagram.
Placed in groups of four, Vasquez and her teammates are required to keep a distance of 30 yards, posing challenges for team chemistry as well as drill variety. With the addition of the recent fire, air quality concerns have further impeded the team’s progress.
Similar social distancing adjustments have been enforced by Weber State, where softball player Emily Ruhl is designated access to her school’s equipment on only one specific day of the week.
“Only a few players are allowed at the field at a time but we are trying to make the most of it,” Ruhl said via (insert). “Everyday, players are able to come practice at the field but only during designated times to meet protocol.”
Regardless of the hassle, Ruhl reflects on how the virus has changed her outlook on the sport.
“Seeing how quickly something can change definitely gave me a new perspective on life,” Ruhl said via Instagram. “Being an athlete during covid is definitely challenging, but now I cherish my time on the field and with my teammates so much more.”
Coronavirus has also made training extremely inconvenient for those who require special facilities, such as Whittier College’s Katelyn Arauz, who needs a pool to practice.
“Practicing during quarantine for me is hard because I play water polo and that requires a pool,” Arauz said. “I have a pool but it is pretty small and what I can practice is limited. Also waterpolo is a team sport so without others, you are really just conditioning not really practicing.”
Driving to the community pool to pass balls with a former teammate from DBHS, Juliana Longoria, Arauz’s workout mainly consists of cardio and available weights at home for the time being.
“For me not playing water polo is very hard because it’s an outlet for me to focus on other things besides school and work,” Arauz said via Instagram. “It has been really hard for me to be motivated to practice and workout when I’m not playing or practicing with people or the right facilities.”
Though she misses the social interaction created with teammates, Arauz has been utilizing her time wisely by reviewing game tapes to review mistakes made in prior seasons.
On the other hand, athletes participating in sports such as golf and track have faced a lesser impact.
“Golf is pretty much a social distancing sport in itself, so my practice has luckily not been affected much, we just take extra care to wear masks around people,” Angelica Kusnowo said via Instagram.
A member of St. John University’s golf team, Kusnowo has decided to remain home for the fall semester due to the cancellation of the Big East Conference schedule. With the closure of many golf courses during the beginning stages of the pandemic, Kusnowo has redirected her spare time to bond with her family as well as taken interest into new hobbies.
“I felt empty without the ability to practice like I normally do, I felt like there was so much free time on my hands, I didn’t know what to do with it,” Kusnowo said via Instagram. “I think the experience during the pandemic has humbled me and showed me that I need to be well rounded outside of my sport.”
As for Lukas Amare, who will run track for UC Irvine, isolated practice has been majorly beneficial. Clocking in around 40-50 miles a week, Amare has been training with a personal coach during quarantine, steadily improving himself for the possible season postponement in spring.
“Our official practices start in October so I am voluntarily practicing right now,” Amare said. “I’m excited because I know I’ll be in the best shape since we have so much time [to ourselves].”
Despite the obstacles presented by the virus, the athletes remain hopeful for a season sometime next spring. Taking advantage of these times of adversity, many continue to push themselves both physically and mentally, waiting to turn this setback into a greater comeback.